James J. James, MD, PhD, MHA, Executive Director of the Society of Disaster Medicine and Public Health, brings over 30 years of experience in the public and private health care sectors as a clinician, researcher, professional personnel manager and program director. He is Editor-in-chief of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, one of the most important journals in the field of disaster medicine and public health, and a Board member of the National Disaster Life Support Foundation (NDLSF). Previously, he was Director of the American Medical Association (AMA) Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response, which oversaw the development and deployment of the National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) suite of courses (over 110,000 medical and public health personnel trained) as well as other innovative mass casualty developments such as the Health Security Smart Card and the Citizen Ready preparedness and recovery training modules. Dr James has served on many federal and private boards and committees in major policy and research functions in disaster medicine and public health. Dr. James is board certified in general preventive medicine, earned a doctorate in medicine and the Cincinnati College of Medicine, a doctorate in public health from UCLA’s School of Public Health, and a Masters in Heathcare Administration from Baylor University. Dr James served 26 years with the US Army Medical Department, servicing in a multitude of capacities. His last assignment was as the Commanding General of William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. Upon retirement in 1997, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the military’s highest peace-time honor. He went on to join FHC Options in Norfolk, Virginia, where he oversaw the building and management of the FHC Options team responsible for winning several multi-billion dollar US government managed care contracts. Dr. James also served as Director of the Miami-Dade County health Department, and led the Miami-Dade County Health Department as it investigated and responded to the anthrax attacks of 2001. In 2002 the Miami-Dade County Health Department was awarded the Governor’s Sterling Award.
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP(E), FNAPA, Hon FRSPH, is the executive director of the American Public Health Association, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of public health professionals. He previously was the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from 1999 – 2002 following four years as its deputy secretary for public health services. For the past 20 years he has been actively practicing public health at the local, state, and national level with expertise in the areas of emergency preparedness, administration and infectious diseases. Dr. Benjamin serves as publisher of the field’s premier journal, the American Journal of Public Health, The Nation’s Health Newspaper and the APHA’s timeless publication on infectious diseases, the Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters. His recent book The Quest for Health Reform: A Satirical History is an exposé of the nearly 100 year quest to ensure quality affordable health coverage for all through the use of political cartoons. Dr. Benjamin is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. He is board-certified in internal medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians; he also is a fellow emeritus of the American College of Emergency Physicians; an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Public Health; a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Lieutenant General Ronald R. Blanck, D.O., (U.S. Army, retired) is a partner and Chairman of the Board of Martin, Blanck & Associates, health care consultants for the private sector and the government. He retired as the President of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth on June 30, 2006. As president, Dr. Blanck headed an academic health center which included the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health and School of Health Professions. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Blanck is board certified in internal medicine. He joined the UNT Health Science Center in August 2000 after his retirement from the U.S. Army. Dr. Blanck began his military career in 1968 as a medical officer and battalion surgeon in Vietnam. He retired 32 years later as the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and commander of the U.S. Army Medical Command – with more than 46,000 military personnel and 26,000 civilian employees throughout the world. During his distinguished military career, Dr. Blanck also served as commander of Walter Reed Medical Center, North Atlantic Region Medical Command and Director of Professional Services and Chief of Medical Corps Affairs for the U.S. Army Surgeon General. Other assignments included Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine, Chief of the Department of Medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center, Commander, Berlin Army Hospital and Commander, Frankfurt Regional Army Medical Center. After joining the UNT Health Science Center, Dr. Blanck continued to be recognized for his leadership in health and medicine. The American Medical Association honored him with its highest award for government officials, the Dr. Nathan Davis Award. A past Governor of the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine, Dr. Blanck was named a Master by the specialists’ society. He joined the boards of Trauma Cure, Inc, the Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, serves as Chairman of the Board of Oxygen Biotheraputics, Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Pyng, Inc. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, past Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Association of Military Surgeons of the US, and a past member of the Board of Trustees of Juniata College as well as the National board of Medical Examiners. Dr. Blanck continues to be consulted as an advisor on bioterrorism issues and an expert in preparing the medical community to respond to mass casualty incidents or those involving weapons of mass destruction. In addition to his many speaking engagements and advisory positions, he chaired task forces on bioterrorism for both the Texas Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association.
Dr. Gebbie moved to Australia in 2011, following a career that has included nursing education, nursing and public health research, as well as nursing and public health practice. She has held academic appointments at UCLA, St. Louis University, Oregon Health Sciences University, University of Washington and Columbia University School of Nursing, where she occupied the Elizabeth Standish Gill Chair, and led the Center for Health Policy. She also served as the Joan Hansen Grabe Dean of the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College-City University of New York from 2008-2010. At Flinders University she continues her long-standing research interests in competency-based education and emergency preparedness. She is a member of the Board of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine. Her nursing practice career includes at Los Angeles County General Hospital (now USC Medical Center) and St. Louis University Hospitals. Gebbie served as head of public health for Oregon, and as Washington State Secretary of Health before service at the White House establishing the AIDS Policy Office for President Clinton. She also served as a senior policy advisor to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion on subjects of public health infrastructure and the public health workforce. She has chaired policy committees for both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Energy. Gebbie has a BSN from St. Olaf College, Minnesota; a Master of Nursing in Community Mental Health Nursing from UCLA; and a Doctor of Public Health in Health Policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science, and currently serves on the Report Review Committee of the Academies. She is also elected to the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Nursing, Journal of Public Health Nursing, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, Nursing Administration, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, Public Health Reports and others.
Jack Horner is the Executive Director of the National Disaster Life Support Foundation, Inc (NDLSF). The NDLSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation dedicated to the proliferation of standardized training for the medical response community, and directs 85 training centers worldwide with the NDLS family of disaster medicine training courses. Mr. Horner served on the faculty of the Medical College of Georgia during the 1970’s, before joining a research group supporting the US Army Medical Department. He retired from Federal Service after more than 20 years. During the last four years of his Federal service he was the Director of the Center for Total Access, a research facility supporting the integration of Telemedicine and medical informatics in the Department of Defense. More recently Mr. Horner has become very involved in the development and offering of specialized training courses in Disaster Medical Response Training. He is a lecturer in these courses on the topics of Nuclear and Radiological Events, Public Health Preparedness, and Health Facility Preparedness Planning. Mr. Horner is on the staff of the Center of Operational Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, coordinating grants, contracts and business development.
Dr. Kelen is Professor and Chair of the Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University. He is also Senior Professional Staff at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and is a member of the Center for Injury Prevention. Dr. Kelen became world renown for developing novel methods to study HIV and other blood borne pathogens. His research in this area helped define the extent of the HIV epidemic, led to the adoption of universal precautions, and ushered in the era of HIV testing and counseling programs in ED settings. More recently, he has turned his attention to bringing scientific enquiry to natural and manmade disasters. He has conducted seminal work in surge capacity in health care settings. Dr. Kelen was appointed the Director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) in 2002, an enterprise-wide entity created to oversee the Institutions endeavors in preparing for, and responding to, a high impact disaster, particularly from potential terrorist action. In November 2005, Dr. Kelen and his team were awarded a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to lead a consortium studying how the nation can best prepare for and respond to potential large-scale incidents and disasters. This Homeland Security Center of Excellence formally titled the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER), studies deterrence, prevention, preparedness and response, including issues such as risk assessment, decision-making, infrastructure integrity, surge capacity and sensor networks. Dr. Kelen has authored more than 200 publications including several major texts. His research has been recognized through numerous awards including the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine’s Hal Jayne Academic Excellence Award and Leadership Award, the American College of Emergency Physicians’ Outstanding Contribution to Research Award, and the Emergency Medicine Foundation Center of Excellence Award. In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Kelen was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science in 2005.